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CD REVIEW: ZoŽ Keating - One Cello ◊ 16: Natoma
By JJ Biener - 12/20/2005 - 01:38 AM EST

Artist: ZoŽ Keating
Album: One Cello ◊ 16: Natoma
CD Review: ZoŽ Keating
One Cello ◊ 16: Natoma

It was Thanksgiving night. My wife and I were pleasantly full from the turkey, the dressing, the potatoes, etc. Ė our traditional Thanksgiving feast. While the tryptophan and carbohydrates worked their magic, we were looking for some music to help lull us into a state of semi-conscious bliss. I grabbed ZoŽ Keatingís One Cello ◊ 16: Natoma out of my stack of CDs to review. Perfect choice.

Ms Keatingís music can best be described as Ambient or New Age. What is most intriguing is that all the parts are played on the aforementioned One Cello. The melody, the harmony, the percussion, the low drones, the high squeals all come from her one instrument of choice. I find this amazing and intriguing. I am accustomed to recording all of the tracks to my songs, but I am a keyboardist. I have keyboards and sound modules and software plug-ins so I have thousands of sounds at my disposal. She has only her cello. Her work is both inspired and inspiring.

The CD starts with a low drone that sounds something like a didgeridoo and what sounds like a steady bass drum beat. The song is Legions (War). It slowly builds adding layer on layer with rhythm building on rhythm, harmony on harmony and finally melody on melody. It ends up a wonderfully complex, integrated whole that resonates somewhere in the vicinity of your solar plexus.

Tetrishead provides a simple lyrical melody over an almost Rock & Roll up tempo 4/4 beat. It then morphs into a series of slowly shifting harmonies alternating between tension and release until it fades away.

Fern starts out sounding like a piece for string quartet. It then adds rhythmic elements which take the piece in a wholly different direction. The track changes and grows, so that despite its over 8 minute length, it never seems tedious or repetitive.

ZoŽ Keating is a first rate cellist and composer. She understands the capabilities of her instrument and she uses it and her ability to the fullest. She shows us what is possible if we look beyond what we assume are our limitations.

For more information, go to her website

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